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IN LAIMAN'S TERMS: 30 Thoughts... RAW 6-11-12
1. Happy birthday to my youngest child, my little girl who turns four today. Unlike the last three-hour RAW, I'm coherent and ready for it. The internet seemed to hate RAW last week, but I was off in my own world of delusion and optimism, apparently. Let's see if the return of Vince brings us something memorable, or just involves killing a lot of time, thus making the three hours entirely irrelevant. I've seen enough of both to know either can happen.
2. I really miss the opening of RAW in the late 90s. Something about that simple guitar riff and the pyro just made for an exciting opening regardless of whether or not it was actually going to be. Plus I'll take "Thorn in Your Eye" over anything by Nickelback eight days a week. Johnny Ace comes out in his Hoverround as Lawler and Cole go back and forth like two eighth grade girls in the locker room bitching about knee socks. Before Johnny can spew his usual introduction, another piece of music I've missed hits, and Vince does the power strut to a pretty good reaction. I wonder if they realize they did their hair exactly the same.
3. Vince seems to be in strong, sometimes comedic face mode. Vince asks for one reason why he shouldn't fire his pencil-necked butt, and I sit there and wonder how exactly that works. JL makes a gaffe, which even the commentators call him on, and he reminds Vince that he used to get booed as badly as he is now. The camera pans to a sign that says "Big Johnny, Your Fired", and all the grammar nazis say "My fired?" I didn't particularly care for how Vince ran down the Big Show, saying he hasn't performed effectively since 1999... Not the greatest thing to say about a guy who's been World Champion since then... Vince continues being a smartass as JL smarms it up.
4. IT'S A SHAMEFUL THING, LOBSTERHEAD! WHY IS THAT KID IN THE CROWD SAYING SHEAMUS IS A FIGHTER NOT A WRESTLER, HOAK HOGAN! HE'S NOT A FIGHTER, HE'S A LOVER! FIGHT FOR YOUR LIFE, HOAK HOGAN! IN OUR RING OF LOVE THIS MUCH IS TRUE, I NEVER THOUGHT THAT I'D BE FIGHTING YOU, HOAK HOGAN! DIVE FROM THE STAGE AND TAKE OVER A SUBSTITUTING JOB AT A PRIVATE SCHOOL, TEACH THE GUY IN THE AUDIENCE THE RULE OF "YOU'RE", HOAK HOGAN! AND REMIND THEM ALL THAT THEY MAY LOSE THE BATTLE OF THE BANDS, BUT AT LEAST THEY KNOW THAT THE FIGHTER IN WWE IS WADE BARRETT, HOAK HOGAN! IF ONLY SOMEONE WOULD FIND HIM IN HIS SKYBOX AND REMIND US THAT HE WAS A BAREKNUCKLE FIGHTER! STICK IT TO THE MAN, HOAK HOGAN! STICK IT TO THE MAN!
5. Funny little moment as Vince sarcastically introduces JL to Sheamus, and Sheamus says that JL is a friend... The kind who fines him a half million dollars. I just saw the second "Big Johnny, Your Fired" sign. Sheamus implores the WWE Universe and Vince McMahon to fire Johnny Laurinaitis. Vince tells JL that every match better be impressive, or he will turn on the HAM and tell him "YOU'RE FIRED!" Just as I say that, I see a THIRD FUCKING "YOUR FIRED!" SIGN! For JBL's sake, I might get the ham for going BANANA! on this shit! Vince continues to ham it up and rides the Johnny Hoverround ala Brock Lesnar on the four-wheeler in 2004, and then runs it off the stage as Sheamus waits for his opponent.
6. Laurinaitis announces Albert Tensai Train as his opponent, and I immediately start caring less about this match. I'm not sure how being a douche to Sakamoto helps anything. It just makes me feel bad for the guy. It takes about ten seconds for the "ALBERT!" chants to start. Much like the "Shave your back!" chants of old, it at least gives the crowd something to do while not giving a fuck about him. The action is decent, albeit a bit awkward, before a clothesline to the outside sends both of them into a commercial break. We come back from the break to see brutal marks left on AT&T's stomach from shots that they never bother to show us. Even in three hours, they still feel it necessary to do that bullshit.
7. Finally, a Vader-style drop gets the interest in the match to return,a and Sheamus starts to fight back. Looking strong against AT&T is a good thing for a world champion still trying to find just what it is to push him to the next level. It looks like we'll have to start a drinking game for every time Cole and Lawler tell us that what's going on better impress Vince McMahon. Sheamus comes off the top rope into a Baldo Bomb, or whatever the hell he calls it now, and then AT&T does some rather strange taunting headbutts. A few counters later, a BOOT TO THE HEAD! is landed, and Lobsterhead gets the win. Probably the best showing by AT&T since his return, and Sheamus looks good going into No Way Out, for which we'll find out his opponent later in the show.
8. Backstage, finally Teddy Long is given something productive to do, and he suggests putting the four former world champions, Swagger, Ziggler, Khali, and Christian in an elimination match for the number one contendership. JL tries to pawn it off as his own idea, and offers Vince a fist-bump... Kay. I'm enjoying the interaction between Vince and Johnny, as Vince making fun of him somehow makes JL being the awkward, smarmy douchebag even more entertaining.
9. As we come back, AT&T is in the ring beating up his man-servant, and still nobody cares. I'd like to see what the guy can do. Much like Ricardo Rodriguez, I enjoy watching him a helluva lot more than the guy he manages. Meanwhile, Cole murders grammar as bad as the signs in the audience by saying "We are just six more weeks to go." My brain might explode tonight. WAIT! This could be saved! YES! YES! YES! TROOF HAS A LIVE MIC! ... GODDAMMIT BIG SHOW! I've been waiting months for TROOF to get a live mic again, and you interrupted my ham with what looked like a pretty stiff face punch! I know he's injured and this is a cover and all, but you could've at least given me some spider stew before you had to write him off! Game over, man! GAME OVER!
10. Do you think Santino Marella and Jeff Hardy trade arm socks? As Santino is joined in the ring by Layla, who gets a similar reaction to AT&T in that nobody cares, I realize that she hasn't even been on RAW in a while. But YES! HAM! Beth Phoenix comes out to face them with Ricardo! All right WWE, you already ruined my TROOF homeless guy rant, you better not screw this one up too! Even the crowd is chanting "Ricardo!" RR tags in, and when he turns to face Santino, he screams and hugs Beth Phoenix around the legs! That is soon followed by some pretty impressive wrestling moves with two of the divas on the roster who can actually... You know... Wrestle. On the outside, Santino threatens the Cobra, and Ricardo turns around and knocks himself out on the ring post! Yes! I love it! Phoenix ends up getting the win, and as Ricardo celebrates, Santino rips off his shirt to reveal a... Justin Bieber shirt? He then scampers out of the ring like he just pissed his pants. Dear JBL, is it possible to outham this?!
11. Meanwhile, back in San Francisco, Hollaback Masterpiece tries to kiss up to Vince for the job if JL loses his job, and Kofi Kingston comes in demanding a match with the Big Show. Not something everyone particularly demands on a regular basis, so I expect some ragdolling to go on, especially after Johnny makes it a steel cage match. I expect some shenanigans, which should get Farva a pistol-whipping.
12. The crowd starts to redeem itself a little bit, as Yesamania still appears to be running wild as Daniel Bryan makes his entrance. Daniel Bryan decides that the show needs another ham sandwich and makes a Sesame Street reference. D-Bry thinks that both Punk and Kane have a weakness in the saucy little crazy chick. And even as a huge Kane fan, Bryan's line about getting to second base when looking him in the eyes and not vomitting made me laugh. Bryan gets even hammier and is apparently determined in competing with Vince and Ricardo for the Large Ham of the week and I'm loving it. The WWE champion interrupts Yesamania to a huge crowd reaction, and YES! A CM Punk is not impressed sign! Awesome! Kudos to whoever has that! Punk gets a laugh out of "either beating the deranged, out of his mind freak... Or Kane." Bryan says "No! No! No!" Now all we need is a Larry Sweeney moment by hitting "More! More! More!" by Andrea True, and the three monosyllabic exclamations will be complete.
13. CM Punk makes a reference to the infamous promo, and actually gets a little heelish by trashing people who didn't like him before the shoot. He claims to have not changed a bit, but runs down Bryan for changing from someone who used to be similar, and goes on a Jericho-style adjective rant, which cues the crowd to chant "goat-face!" Wow, match that up with "Kung Pow Bitch!" and there's a random insult ham-off.
14. A sudden explosion has Kane joining the conversation, which in a RAW apparently geared toward the battle for the Ultimate Ham could use some of Kane's enjoyable overacting. Kane runs through some of his less memorable accolades, but says that his pipe bombs are actual pipe bombs... Nicely put. AJ interrupts the three of them, and goddamn is she hot. She looked into Kane's eyes and saw that he has a heart, which out of kayfabe is definitely true, and Punk says "You gotta love crazy chicks!" Indeed. Then AJ admits she hasn't gotten over her first love before giving the eyes to Punk and saying he's the coolest guy she's ever known, which is true because he is awesome. Laurinaitis makes for the fourth interruption of this promo and announces that Daniel Bryan will team up with Kane to take on Punk and AJ... Nobody is sure what to make of it, but definitely an enjoyable lead-in. Though Laurinaitis was a bit inaccurate in saying that a match like that had never been seen before, as I'm quite sure a guy tag team has faced a guy-girl tag team more than once.
15. Christian and Great Khali are headed out, which means it's time for the four way elimination to determine who will face Lobsterhead on Sunday. Dolph Ziggler is truly attempting to look like Mr. Ass circa 1998, but not to be outdone, Swagger's haircut now makes him look even MORE like Biff Tannen. I assume that last week, he was back in 1885 trying to find someone who could take him seriously in that singlet, and has now returned to wax the car that's going to deliver Jerry Lawler's not-so-subtle Domino's pizza product placement.
16. Michael Cole say that Teddy Long is a Yes-Man, which is silly because we all know that Daniel Bryan is the real YES! Man. The early part of this match is dominated by the Great Khali, thus making AT&T's reaction sound like Triple H's in Madison Square Garden in 2002. Fortunately, Christian comes out with a frog splash, and all three men make the pin, thus making his run in this match short. That unfortunately runs into another goddamn commercial break, because we just haven't had enough yet. I'm forced to watch someone make the Five Hour Energy commercials even worse than they already were. Damn, if only I had a show where I could make fun of stupid shit like that...
17. We return just in time to see Biff and Dolphy Gunn do a sweet wheelbarrow X-Factor tag team combo. Fair enough, I guess Dolph isn't just doing Billy Gunn, but will mirror all members of DX in an attempt to further rectify being buried as a member of the Spirit Squad. A series of well-done counters has Biff telling Christian to make like a tree and get out of here, culminating in an ankle lock counter equivalent of a skateboard diversion into a truck of manure named as Dolph Ziggler pinning his own partner. It comes down to Dolph and Christian, something about which any true wrestling fan would not complain, as I anticipate Dolphy Gunn's Road Dogg shimmy. He does however sell a catapult into the ropes ala HBK, so he's at least done a half DX reunion concert this fine evening.
18. Speaking of Dolphy Gunn though, he even throws in a Fame-asser for good measure. I'm pretty sure he's even getting chants, which is pretty awesome. In a fantastic closing sequence, Dolph hits the Zig Zag to get the win, and I'm pretty damn sure that was a face pop! Finally, Dolph Ziggler is back in the world title picture! Take another shot, Cole just reminded us that Vince must be impressed again, although CM Punk is surely not impressed with the constant reminders. Dolph capstones the moment by saying "'Bout Damn Time!" My sentiments exactly.
19. Natalya is backstage attempting to suck up to Vince, saying that the whole family should have another reunion. She tells Vince that she'll wait right there, except for the fact that she walks away afterward... The Funkateers then try to persuade Vince into letting the Funkasaurus back on RAW, to which Vince tells them they better STAND BACK! I'm not sure if Vince dancing to "Somebody Call My Momma!" was hammier than the Funkettes trying to persuade him to do so. If you are a fan of ham, this is definitely the show of the year so far for over-the-top silliness! To cap it off, Zack Ryder is standing by doing his "Oh-Face", to which McMahon quotes his catch phrase, interestingly enough since Ryder hasn't done shit in months.
20. The T-Ryback is up next for yet another squash match with his invisible pyro. Oh dear JBL, did they just combine lesser known Presidents with a Freebirds reference? Willard Fillmore and Rutherford PS Hayes? I love this show! Nerdery AND Ham! One of them tries to run away... By running directly into him... And the destruction continues. Cue the Goldberg chants and bad Presidential jokes. The T-Ryback doesn't take long to use the liquid nitrogen, and he demands three. I'd settle for just a legitimate opponent.
21. We return to Vince and Hornswoggle both trying to do a JR impression, because Vince has the entire roster with which to compete for ham tonight, and that leads to a John Cena appearance. Cena tries to challenge McMahon's advice, to which McMahon throws in a jab at Cena's Wrestlemania loss. That leads to both of them in a game of one-upsmanship over WrestleMania references. This leads to more cameos, as Vince makes a Kiss My Ass club reference in front of William Regal, leading to Regal looking like someone just stole his Happy Meal toy.
22. The steel cage match starts off quite violently to nobody's surprise, as Cole is sure to remind us that he can, in fact, use the cage as a weapon. Thanks Michael Cole, your contribution to video journalism is unparalleled. Kofi is getting smashed, as even Big Show decides to ham it up and yell at the crowd. This is as much of a squash as the previous one involving the T-Ryback. Big Show wastes a lot of time just wandering around the ring, giving more time for Kofi to weakly attempt to fight back... Resulting in a Kofi smash, then to more stalling and crowd yelling. Kofi finally hits one offensive move, then hits an impressive Shelton Benjamin-like Spiderjump to the cage, finally getting more kicks finally landing. Kofi frantically tries to escape, but it just results in a WMD. Big Show wanders around some more, and then leaves with Kofi knocked out like a bad tequila adventure. Definitely not the most exciting steel cage match in history, but did its job in making Show look strong.
23. Sin Cara has a match next, and Curt Hawkins does the same unimpressed stance and face that he did when he was jobbing to Brodus Clay. An audible "Let's Go Hawkins" chant breaks out... This crowd must love heels. Sin Cara hits a move where he rolls around Hawkins at least three times, which looked really awesome. Hawkins then catches a corkscrew plancha from Sin Cara, looking like he hit his head pretty hard on the mat. I marked for the Tajiri-style back elbow, and Hawkins is selling extremely well for Sin Cara, and his faceplant finisher looked a lot more impressive than it did last week. The third straight match with a ridiculously obvious outcome, but definitely entertaining. I'd love to see WWE bring in some cruiserweights to wrestle with him, even if they're just one-offs. I might temporarily forgive my loathing of Alex Shelley to see him face off against Sin Cara.
24. Vince and Daniel Bryan are backstage, and you have to think that a lot of the comments being made sound pretty legitimate. It was pretty well stated that for a long time, they didn't think Danielson had the look of a WWE superstar. This leads to him saying the same thing that every person who has talked to him tonight has said; "we have a lot in common." Insert snappy Vince comeback here, this time involving not ever finishing anything in eighteen seconds. I'm sure he'd throw in a Genetic Jackhammer reference, but then again, PG isn't broken very often without The Rock on TV.
25. After another RAW nostalgia trip, Heath Slater even decides he wants in on the ham tonight and tries to hide his Cable Guy-ish lisp. This leads to former Boy Meets World guest star VADER being the special former RAW main eventer! Oh poor Slater, people used to leave shows if they saw they were facing Vader. He's worked stiffer than an unwanted math class boner. Still, hearing that theme music again was awesome! Hartford must have some TNA-style fans, because I just heard dueling "Let's Go" chants. I think there's just a vocal minority in the arena determined to chant against every face on the show. This is the most ::clap clap clapclapclap:: chants I've heard since the Miami RAW after WrestleMania.
26. I'll give credit to Heath Slater for actually managing to lift Vader up, even if it backfired. Vader still looks to be on top of his game in an entertaining few minutes, albeit in the fourth straight match with an obvious outcome. At least some of the lower card is getting television exposure.
27. It's time for the match that is so unique and strange, in case you didn't hear Cole calling it that eighty-seven times. I laughed a bit at Punk making AJ stand back for his trademark call. The heels get the edge at first, including some YES! kicks. Bryan appears to be showing off for AJ while Kane couldn't give a shit less. Punk starts to make a comeback, and hits the corner high knee and a Samoa Joe-ish powerslam. He goes for the Macho Man elbow and misses, which actually looked rather painful. Punk starts to tag out until he realizes who his partner is, and then walks right into a goozle. This causes AJ to accidentally get tagged in.
28. AJ makes the eyes at Kane, and a huge laugh at an audible crowd member yelling "Kane's got a woody!" She then skips around him.... Okay... She then leg leaps into Kane and plants one on him, causing a very appropriate and funny as hell "YES! YES! YES!" from the crowd. I'll give it to them, they are making up for their grammatical abortion signs. Kane appears very confused, as he tags in Daniel Bryan and leaves. The match is over really quickly thereafter with a Macho Man elbow, and Lawler sums it up perfectly... "What did we just witness?" AJ sits in the middle of the ring Punk-style, and goddamn she is improving the crazy hot chick thing every second.
29. Vince walks out again with a security entourage, giving a bunch of indy wrestlers a chance to achieve their dream of being on a WWE broadcast. He starts off by going the Foley cheap pop route, implying that a professional life will end tonight. Gee, I expect nothing whatsoever to go wrong here. Vince tells JL that the security guards are for someone to be walked out of the business, to which Laurinaitis says that he's made RAW destination TV. He is really funny when he has someone to play off of.
30. Before Vince can vocally fire John Laurinaitis, the Big Show's music interrupts the moment. Boy, do you think something's gonna alter Vince's plans here? Show uses the ironclad contract excuse to drop his own little pipe bomb, describing how much Vince'll be paying him to do nothing if he gets fired. Show gets intense in Vince's face, bringing up the Sportscenter moments and that he finally gets to be what he is, a Giant. Before Show can ramble on any longer, Cena's music interrupts him. Cena goes on a ham-filled promo, including using the phrase "chainsmoking cripple", and observes Show head-to-toe to indicate that he is in fact a giant. Cena continues by saying that Show has stacked the odds so far in his favor that he shouldn't come back from the beating he's going get, but plays into it further by saying that if he doesn't win, there'll be no one left to blame. Cena definitely brought his promo hops today. Vince interrupts and says that he'll be at ringside this Sunday, I guess breaking the plans of firing him tonight. Show throws away the security guards as Cena jumps Show. Show comes within a few inches of hitting Vince with the WMD, and I guess the wind sheer knocked him right out. Thankfully the camera was shaky for replay to make it look somewhat decent, and the show goes off the air with Cena's expression reminiscent of someone telling him that Santa wasn't real. This was a fun show, albeit not a great wrestling show. The storylines advanced properly, and it was definitely full of ham.
This whole episode was bursting at the seams with Ham. It was like a birthday present to a fan of entertaining overacting and silliness. This show was so hammy that R-Truth had a live mic and isn't even a Ham finalist. On most nights, Vince McMahon would've won it, but I'll be damned if Ricardo Rodriguez didn't outdo even himself, complete with a Justin Bieber t-shirt.
1-9-12 – R-Truth
1-16-12 - John Laurinaitis
1-23-12 - William Regal
1-29-12 - Ricardo Rodriguez
1-30-12 - R-Truth
2-6-12 - Triple H
2-13-12 - Shawn Michaels
2-19-12 – Santino Marella
2-20-12 - John Cena
2-27-12 – Al Laiman, for thinking no one read this
3-5-12 – John Laurinaitis
3-12-12 - James Roday
3-19-12 - Theodore Long
3-26-12 - Booker T
4-1-12 - Santino Marella
4-2-12 - Dolph Ziggler
4-9-12 - Will Sasso
4-16-12 - Daniel Bryan
4-23-12 – CM Punk
4-29-12 - Teddy Long's name tag
4-30-12 - John Laurinaitis
5-7-12 - Paul Heyman and Jeff
5-14-12 - John Cena
5-20-12 - John Cena
5-21-12 - Santino Marella
5-28-12 - CM Punk
6-4-12 - Michael Cole
6-11-12 - Ricardo Rodriguez